If at any point you are worried that your young person has done something to seriously harm themselves then call either 111 or 999.
Signs of Self-Harm
Some signs that a person is self harming might include;
You might notice they talk about self-harm on social media or visit websites about self-harm.
Some of the ways young people might self-harm are;
If young people use alcohol or drugs they are more likely to self harm.
If you have just discovered your child is self harming you probably feel confused, scared and upset. You may not be sure what to do next. It can be a good idea to give yourself a few minutes to breathe slowly and feel calm before you react. Being as calm as you can, will help your child and you.
You will probably have lots of questions and want your child to promise to stop. You might want to remove anything they might use to hurt themselves.
However your child has been using the harm as a way to cope with distress. Taking their (unhealthy) coping strategy away before they have been able to develop new healthy ways to manage feelings can make things harder for your child and may not work. Ask your child what they think would help.
Giving your child time to talk about what has been happening and think why and when they have used self harm is likely to help them most.
Many people who self-harm will say they feel embarrassed and ashamed about what they are doing. Reassuring them that it is not uncommon and they can get better, will be really helpful to them. If your child feels they can talk to you and do not have to keep it a secret you will be more able to keep them safe.
Ways to Cope
Help your child to come up with other things to try when they feel the urge to self harm;
Remember to take care of your self too. It is not easy to support your child when they are struggling with self-harm. Talk to trusted family and friends. Use relaxation techniques and care for your own health and wellbeing.
Getting More Help
When people are self-harming it is always a sign of emotional distress that needs support. Your child should see their GP for an assessment of what might help them most. Talking to your child’s school can help widen your child’s support network too.
Letting other people know will help you and your child get the support they need. They may want you to be there for support or find it easier to talk without you there – ask them what would help the most.
If you are worried that your child has injuries needing immediate medical attention call 111 or 999. The NHS give more information about seeking urgent help.
Shelf Help Books
Books about mental health for 13 to 18 year olds, with advice and information about issues like anxiety, stress and OCD, bullying and exams.
All Shelf Help books can be reserved for free from any Norfolk library, or online. The books are available to borrow for up to six weeks.
Health Uncovered Podcast
Health Uncovered is a series of podcasts that aims to get young people in-tune with their health and wellbeing. The series is hosted by BBC Radio One presenter Cel Spellman and features young people and health professionals from our Norfolk Healthy Child Programme.
Life isn't always easy - and young people across the country have been helping us explore the issues that they’re facing today. From online bullying to sexual health, body image to mental health. They've been asking the questions you want to hear answered, joined by the health professionals that help young people, like school nurses and mental health specialists, to provide solutions, support and understanding.
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our service offers an Emotional Health Pathway specially designed to help young people manage difficult feelings. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
For adults Qwell provides free, safe and anonymous mental wellbeing support for adults in Norfolk and Waveney from a professional team of qualified counsellors.
For 11–25 year olds Kooth is a free, confidential and safe way to receive online counselling, advice and emotional well-being support.
Childline - Children and young people under 19 can call 0800 1111 for free support.
Young Minds Parents Helpline - Call 0808 802 5544 for free Mon-Fri from 9.30am to 4pm.
To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.